Bloggers are always trying to come up with clever titles to get people to go to their blog. So I mixed a little fairy tale metaphor with Jesus and bam! There it is, what do ya think? Pretty good or what?
Anyway, I am an amateur apologist, I haven’t been formally educated, I haven’t even been informally educated. Everything I learn comes from books that I’ve read, pastors I follow and listen to, and of course expert apologists like C.S Lewis, Bob Dutko and Greg Boyd.
Speaking of Greg Boyd, I’ve been reading one of his books (Letters From A Skeptic) and about halfway through the book he gets to the subject of the Resurrection.
Skeptics like to say it never happened, they dispute the reliability of the Gospels, they argue the dates that they were written and yet, logically speaking the resurrection can almost not even be disputed. There is too much going for it that cannot be argued away. So I’d like to go over some of that with you now…
THE RESURRECTION HAPPENED BECAUSE….
WHERE ELSE IS HE?
If the resurrection never happened, where is Jesus? The disciples ran to His tomb only to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. There are only three explanations for this. Either
A, He really did rise from the dead, or B, the disciples took His body and hid it from everyone, or
C, the Romans took His body and moved it.
Starting backward and working to A, let’s start with option C.
If the Romans took the body of Jesus the first question would be, why? They wanted Him dead and now He was so what purpose would taking the body serve?
Some people seem to think that taking His body would prevent the disciples from coming up with some theory that Jesus actually did rise from the dead. The problem is, when the disciples started running around claiming Jesus had risen, the Romans could have gotten His body and proved them wrong, in front of everyone. But that never happened, because if it did, Christianity would’ve died before it even started.
B, the theory that maybe the disciples took His body and hid it so they could continue to live this lie is absurd at best.
Assuming these guys could’ve rolled away a stone that heavy, they would’ve had to get past the guards first. Guards who had the responsibility of ensuring no one gets close to that tomb, failing that mission would mean certain death for the guards, history tells us that failing to do your job as a Roman soldier meant that either they were in cahoots with the enemy or they weren’t fit to be a soldier in the first place. Either way it was treason and it was punishable by death.
Peter, John, Matthew, Thomas, none of which were trained in the art of battle would’ve had to take down the entire guard. There is no way a bunch of fishermen and tax collecters could have done that.
For the sake of argument let’s assume that they did in fact get past the guard, roll away a stone and take His body, that would mean that from that point forward they would’ve been selling a lie. They would’ve known that Jesus did not rise from the dead and with the intensity in which the Romans and the Jews hated these guys, their life would be in serious trouble… for a lie, that they knew was a lie.
People will die for what they believe to be true, but nobody will die for what they know for certain is a lie. They watched Jesus die, how horrible it was and they knew that they could very well be executed in the exact same manner…. (which most of them did, except for John who was boiled alive and still somehow lived) for a lie. Maybe it’s just me but if I’m about to be hung up on a Roman cross unless I spill the beans, I’m not dying for something that I know isn’t true.
That only leaves…
A, Jesus really did rise from the dead. This is the only way to explain the transformation of the disciples, before the crucifixion the disciples were cowards, they ran away when Jesus was arrested, they didn’t even believe that He rose until He revealed Himself to them, Peter even denied Jesus after Jesus predicted it. But, after the resurrection, the disciples became bold and courageous, they were openly preaching this resurrection in the streets of Jerusalem. They were unafraid to die even after watching the horror in which these Romans knew how to kill.
They saw Him, physically saw Him. So did hundreds of others who collaborate the eyewitness accounts of Peter, Matthew and John.
There is one more explanation that people try to use, He didn’t rise, nobody moved Him and his tomb has yet to be found. This would mean it was a hoax pulled off by His disciples and we’ve believed in a lie for two thousand years. It fails to explain the transformation of the disciples and again the whole dying for a lie thing. It also fails to explain why with all of the archeological digs we have yet to find Him, and it also fails to explain James.
James, aw let’s not forget the half brother of Jesus, James. Quick question, what would your brother have to do to convince you that He was God? I have brothers, and let me tell you, if one of them came up to me and told me He was God, I’d have him committed. James was no different, He didn’t become a believer until after the resurrection, again the only way I believe my brother is God is if he said “hey, I’m gonna die a horrible death. Then, three days later, you and I are gonna have a little pow wow.” and then he actually did it, that’s when I believe him. That’s what happened with James, then later on He died for it. Sorry but I wouldn’t die for my brother if I knew he was lying to me, and James would not have either.
James who called his brother crazy was suddenly preaching His name, teaching His name and building churches in His name. If the change in the disciples isn’t enough than the complete 180 in James should be. Jame believed his brother was the Son of God, even without the disciples, that’s enough for me.
Having said that, why doesn’t everyone believe? Well the easy answer is they simply don’t want to, believing means that heaven and hell are real, that living an unrepentant life means you’re going to hell. So if you don’t want to go to hell, you’d have to make some changes in your life and quite frankly, nobody wants to change, nobody wants to make Jesus the Lord of their life. Especially when autonomy means you get to be in charge.
Here’s the bottom line, Jesus was who He said He was, Jesus died to atone for the sins of the world, He rose to conquer death and it was all recorded for us to read about. The Bible has somehow, miraculously stood the test of time, for thousands of years one dictator after another has tried to destroy this thing called Christianity. No one has been able to do it, not Nero, not ISIS and not anyone in between.
The followers of Jesus are here to stay, and if we have our way, you’ll be joining us in Heaven. And if that offends you, well that’s just too bad because we love you too much to be quiet about it.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share.